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COVID-19 impacts college enrollment numbers

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 5:54 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -Spring semester is less than two weeks away at Western Nevada College.

Reducing the spread continues to remain the biggest concern to keep teachers and students safe as enrollment numbers have dropped this spring semester compared to the fall.

The school’s president Dr. Vincent Solis says the impact of COVID-19 has made it a difficult but persevering year.

COVID-19 impacting college enrollment
COVID-19 impacting college enrollment(KOLO)

“We’ve pretty much had flat enrollment, we were down a little bit but not as bad as other colleges throughout the country,” said Dr. Solis. “Again a lot of it has to do with commitment from our community, students to want to continue to seek their education but also our amazing faculty. They’ve been really committed to providing that exceptional teaching learning experience through the pandemic.”

Western Nevada College had a successful semester in the fall with zero transmission of COVID-19 among faculty and students.

Dr. Solis is hopeful for the same outcome this school year.

“In the spring, the changes will be that 40% of our classes face to face particularly in those areas that we call CTE or career technical education like welding, automotive and hands on as an option for our students,’' added Dr. Solis.

Freshman Pedro Madera tells me while the transition hasn’t been easy, the option to have both in person and remote learning offered by the school is an advantage.

“Halfway through my first semester my in person classes switched to online so I find it a bit difficult because having a teacher there is much better than teaching yourself,” explained Madera. “I’m glad WNC gives us the opportunity to go in person still because I know not a lot of colleges are offering that right now.”

While sophomore Taylor Davison is looking forward to graduation.

“When I had to do my in person classes the college has done really well with social distancing and hand sanitizer,” said Davison. “It has been difficult but the college has made it easy.”

For Juana Castaneda, she said online classes is a combination of structure and flexibility.

“I find it to be a little bit easier because it does put you on a schedule,” said Casteaneda. “You don’t have to be on your own schedule so you don’t just wake up at 10am or whenever.”

With the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines this year, Dr. Solis said he expects enrollment numbers will pick back up.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel but we still have to be vigilant,” added Dr. Solis. “We’re still going to follow all the safety protocols and we’ll continue to monitor the situation weekly with our leadership and faculty.”

Open enrollment for the spring semester at Western Nevada College continues until Friday, January 29th, 2021.

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